Rock n Roller 16: Family Time and Storm Chaser

Michele is back in Alaska and I am on my own for almost a week. I have a soft deadline to keep. I have to be at the airport in Austin Texas on Friday to pick her up and one of the service dogs we are delivering, Rags, to his owner in San Antonio.

Today I would be back in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky and just across the Ohio River from where I stayed last night. It would be visiting my aunt Linda and cousin, Lauren later this evening for dinner and drinks. But first I would check out the brand new coaster, Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom.

Kentucky Kingdom is a small park that used to be a Six Flags. It reminds me a lot of Eltich Gardens in Denver. This little park is in the middle of the city, close to the University of Louisville and their huge football stadium.

The line at the ticket booth was long but moved fast. It was mid-week and it was crowded. I hard a hard time finding my way around for some reason, looking for Storm Chaser at the back of the park. I had to wind my way around the water park a couple times and over a bridge that crossed the busy road that took people into the park. The new coaster just opened this summer and it was one that I wanted to make sure was on the list if I made it to this part of the country.

This coaster was a blast! As I have said before this new technology is really changing the coaster landscape. The company that builds this type, Rocky Mountain Construction, has figured out a way to make one of the smoothest rides you can imagine. From the Kentucky Kingdom website:

Storm Chaser will be built with RMCs’ patented iBox track, which is featured on only five other coasters in the world. The result is a ride that’s smooth as glass, fast, and intense. Because it will have the iBox track, Storm Chaser will also feature many thrilling elements that can’t be incorporated into traditional wooden coasters.

One hundred feet tall at his highest point, Storm Chaser will be the first coaster in America to feature a barrel roll drop from a 10-story lift hill – and don’t get us started on the 78-degree angle of that drop… that’s nearly perpendicular! And that’s just the beginning. Riders will then be treated to a stall dive, tip-out corner, airtime hills, a twisted airtime drop, a corkscrew… it’s truly a new breed of coaster that’s nothing like a traditional “woodie.”

After that I rode, Lightning Run, T3, and Thunder Run. I really liked this one. The theming was perfect for the park and a great ride. With nearly 3,000 linear feet of track, 74-foot drop, and negative airtime on its camelback hills, it’s a coaster lover’s dream!

After wandering around the park for a couple hours I decided to check out the Angry Birds 5D cinema ride. Surprisingly it was one of the coolest rides I have been on the entire trip. You enter the theater and take your seats and as the movie starts your chair starts to rock and roll. It is virtual reality without the dorky headsets.

I was out of the park by lunch time and headed over to a local sports bar for a burger. When you are in this part of the country you have to have a bottle of Big Red. If you don’t know what this is you need to come out this way to check t out. Until the late 1970s, Big Red was marketed exclusively in Central and South Texas and around Louisville, Kentucky, including parts of Southern Indiana. The drink is highly popular in the Southern United States and is well known for its unique taste and red color. Its unique taste, though often thought to be bubble gum, is created by mixing orange and lemon oils with the traditional vanilla used in other cream sodas.

I headed to find the hotel. I reserved a Red Roof Inn on and surprisingly there are three of these in this little town. I ended by going to all three before I found the right one. It wasn’t in the best of neighborhoods but it was close to the airport and the freeway south.

I met my aunt Linda at my cousin, Lauren’s place. We hung out for a while and had a couple beers and cheese and crackers and caught up. It had been a very long time since I have seen these guys, since Lauren was little. Now she was a grown woman and a college grad. We talked about family, my our grandparent’s (Linda’s parents) and the upcoming presidential election. Linda made her case for me not to vote for Trump!

After taking the dogs for a walk and me giving a training tip here and there, through the cool old Louisville neighborhood that reminds you of the old South with gas lit street lamps, old fountains and quaint little homes with courtyards, we met up with Lauren’s girlfriend to head into town for dinner.

We went to Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar. The smoked chicken was excellent! We took our time at dinner and had great conversation. It is amazing how comfortable you feel talking with family even through it has been more than 20 years. After dinner we said our goodbyes and promised to stay in touch.

Tomorrow I would be heading southeast through Tennessee and on my way to Memphis.

Tomorrow: Home of the Blues

Coasters to date on the tour: 76

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